Query children's chapter book

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Nigel Haberdash
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Query children's chapter book

Post by Nigel Haberdash » April 20th, 2011, 4:37 pm

Dear Agent,

Herbert Henkleman is probably the greatest scientist in the entire world, next to the guy who invented biscuits and gravy. Monday’s science fair is his chance to prove it to everyone in his second grade class. He is going to make the biggest, meanest, working volcano in history.

The only problem is that he hasn’t spent a single minute working on it because he has been busy working on a top secret project, a flying propeller hat. He made it out in his laboratory, which doubles as his bedroom, out of a propeller beanie, a cell phone, and a fan blade.

Herbie has the weekend to finish testing it and get his volcano finished while his parents are out of town. He has more than enough time so long as his mutant of an older brother Rosco quits snooping around his room. If Rosco doesn’t quit trying to find the tip-top secret project Herbie is SO telling Aunt Rita.

HERBIE AND HIS HELICOPTER HAT is a 5,800 word children’s chapter book that follows Herbie on his mission to win the science fair. This book, written for second graders, is a stand-alone with series potential.

My background is in education. I taught both first and second grade for a total of five years. I am a member of the SCBWI.
Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,
Broseph McDude

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Matthew MacNish
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Re: Query children's chapter book

Post by Matthew MacNish » April 20th, 2011, 4:53 pm

I've forgotten how much I like using the forums to critique, it's such a great format for it. See my thoughts below:
Nigel Haberdash wrote:Dear Agent,

Herbert Henkleman great name is probably the greatest scientist in the entire world, next to the guy who invented biscuits and gravy. Monday’s science fair is his chance to prove it to everyone in his second grade class. He is going to make the biggest, meanest, working volcano in history.

This is a decent hook and opening pitch, but I would like a better sense of character. Herbert is a second grader? Say that. Besides being interested in science and explosions, what kind of kid is he? Petulant? Shy? Quiet? Arrogant?

Otherwise the setup of the conflict and the stakes looks good. It wouldn't be enough for YA or adult literature, but this is a chapter book, small stakes are fine here, I think.


The only problem is that he hasn’t spent a single minute working on it because he has been busy working on a top secret project, a flying propeller hat. He made it out in his laboratory, which doubles as his bedroom, out of a propeller beanie, a cell phone, and a fan blade.

Herbie has the weekend to finish testing it and get his volcano finished while his parents are out of town. He has more than enough time so long as his mutant of an older brother Rosco quits snooping around his room. If Rosco doesn’t quit trying to find the tip-top secret project Herbie is SO telling Aunt Rita.

The rest of this is a good start, lots of great voice, but it left me a little ... I'm not sure, wondering, I guess.

I mean what are the consequences going to be if he can't complete the volcano? The hat? Or both? What kind of choice will he have to make to accomplish his goals? Other than choosing one project or the other?


HERBIE AND HIS HELICOPTER HAT is a 5,800 word children’s chapter book that follows Herbie on his mission to win the science fair. This book, written for second graders, is a stand-alone with series potential.

My background is in education. I taught both first and second grade for a total of five years. I am a member of the SCBWI.
Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,
Broseph McDude
Feel free to post a revision. Hopefully you can get some more opinions, and then I'll try to come back.

AllieS
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Re: Query children's chapter book

Post by AllieS » April 20th, 2011, 8:55 pm

Herbert Henkleman I would definitely include his age in here. At first I heard the name Herbert and thought "old man." Reading the rest of the query, he obviously isn't, but I'd make sure to put in his age.is probably the greatest scientist in the entire world, next to the guy who invented biscuits and gravy. Monday’s science fair is his chance to prove it to everyone in his second grade class. He is going to make the biggest, meanest, working The word "working" throws me. I don't think you need it. Herbert seems like the kind of kid who is obviously going to try and make something that works. We get that it's a model volcano for a class. volcano in history.

The only problem is that he hasn’t spent a single minute working on it because he has been busy working on a top secret project, a flying propeller hat. He made it out in his laboratory, which doubles as his bedroom, out of a propeller beanie, a cell phone, and a fan blade.

Herbie has the weekend to finish testing it and get his volcano finished while his parents are out of town. He has more than enough time so long as his mutant of an older brother Rosco quits snooping around his room. If Rosco doesn’t quit trying to find the tip-top secret project Herbie is SO telling Aunt Rita.

I wish I had more of a sense of what Aunt Rita is like, since you throw her in here at the end. Rational? Lovey-dovey? Hardass? Also, like the poster above me commented on, I don't get a sense of an obvious conflict. Herbert has to complete both projects. But is Rosco constantly trying to ruin his projects? Will the Earth come to an end if he doesn't complete them both? Just wish there was a little more detail at the end.

HERBIE AND HIS HELICOPTER HAT is a 5,800 word children’s chapter book that follows Herbie on his mission to win the science fair. This book, written for second graders, is a stand-alone with series potential.

My background is in education. I taught both first and second grade for a total of five years. I am a member of the SCBWI.
Thank you for your time and consideration.

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wilderness
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Re: Query children's chapter book

Post by wilderness » April 20th, 2011, 10:42 pm

I'm not too familiar with children's books queries, but I thought it was pretty cute and well-written. Agreed with Allie that his age should be included right off the bat, and not sure you needed "working" in the description of the volcano. Good luck!

roguepw25
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Re: Query children's chapter book

Post by roguepw25 » May 14th, 2011, 9:54 pm

I agree that his age should be in there, but I also liked that you wrote that your book was a stand alone but that it also had potential for a series. That's good. Your hook was a bit funny which I think will keep the agen reading your query. I agree with the previous critiques though too, but I liked it very well.

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